17 Aug 2012

Friday News Round-Up...

The digital world is changing: new business models, new players, new services. The emerging markets of Africa, the Middle East and Eurasia are pioneering ways to make the most of the new opportunities. To catch up on the latest examples of innovation and business developments, we put together a weekly list of the Hot stories we come across. The Com World Series team live and breathe emerging markets, so we want to make sure we spread the news!

Hot Stories in Emerging Markets

4 inspiring tablets from Africa for Africa

Mobile payments to be worth $1.3tn by 2017

Qtel moves to buy out Wataniya

Nigeria - Mast, Tower Users Urged To Adhere To Usage Directive

Security soars to the cloud

Europe & Asia race for Zambia’s digital migration tender as Zambia prepares to migrate to digital

CDMA merger on the cards: Multilinks, Starcomms and MTS could become a new CDMA giant in Nigeria

Africa Infographics

Battle for Bandwidth

Chinese Investments in Africa


Mxit's Alan Knott-Craig on innovation and targeting African needs

15 Aug 2012

SIM Registration Focus in Africa

The AfricaCom 2012 team are delighted to welcome Channel IT at the event and as a guest blogger – see below for their thoughts on SIM Registration Focus in Africa

Governments and Telecom Regulators globally are focussing now on ensuring that all their mobile network users (both pre- and post-paid) are registered with the network in question. Their main reason for driving this program is an attempt to cut down on criminal activities and threats to end users within the country itself.

Some African markets already have well established programs (since 2009 in South Africa’s case) but in other countries this is still a new or even pending initiative. Despite Operator’s acknowledging the need for such undertakings there is often concern about the impact this will have on subscriber numbers or revenues (when these are already low in some cases). In one Sub-Saharan network, for example, the number of users fell by 1.4 million after the legislation was introduced. In addition the Operator carries the cost of these activities, which can be time consuming and involve a great deal of paperwork and bureaucracy.

In reality the statistics will show that subscribers that are lost are in many cases “zero” ARPU subscribers. How often have you had a prepaid SIM card expire on you for non-use? Subscriber numbers are also inflated in many instances to begin with. In reality there is little evidence to support these concerns and the downward trend does not last. Whatever the numbers reflect the reality is that Operators will have to go through the SIM registration exercise at some point in the near future, it’s almost inevitable.

We at Channel IT have developed our own Biometric & Data Capture System which captures demographic information, a user photograph, a fingerprint biometric and a copy of a valid ID card (as per the Operator’s requirements) in both offline and online mode. The system is portable, secure and robust, and has already achieved great success in Nigeria where 38 million users have been successfully and easily registered.

Visit the Channel IT Group stand at AfricaCom (A16a) in Cape Town between the 13th and 15th November 2012 and allow us to demonstrate our system to you.

14 Aug 2012

Mxit's Alan Knott-Craig on innovation and targeting African needs


Alan Knott-Craig is a South Africa mobile entrepreneur with a passion for African business opportunities. He is former CEO of iBurst and runs World of Avatar, the company that recently acquired South African social media brand Mxit.
He will be speaking at AfricaCom in the keynote panel on social media. He shares his thoughts on the market before the event.

Com:    How has Mxit’s strategy evolved since your acquisition?
AKC: We’ve changed from a fairly closed system to a pure open platform strategy, explicitly helping third parties access the user base and build businesses. The 4 key pillars of Mxit going forward are Chat (ie: communication), Money (ie: payments), Shop (ie: API for 3rd party developers), and Reach (ie: platform for NGOs and governments)

Com: How are consumers’ needs evolving and what needs to be done to address them effectively?
AKC: People are becoming more economically active, demanding more entertainment and using better phones. We need to enable payments within Mxit, provide more & better content to keep people engaged, and to ensure the user experience isworld class across all devices.

Com: How to encourage innovation in Africa’s digital market?
AKC: Give people the tools they need to make stuff. The ideas are there. The ambition is there. The opportunity is there. The people just need tools like Internet access, non-credit card billing, and API’s for platforms that are notexclusively web and iPhone based.

Com:   What advice would you give to young ICT entrepreneurs in Africa?
First, don’t panic. The opportunity is here, but it will be here in 5 years too. Wait for the right idea before jumping in. You need passion to sustain yourself in the dark days, and you can only be passionate about something you love.
Second, when you have a dream, drop what you’re doing and chase it. Don’t try raise money first. Start the race before raising the money.
Third, ignore the American media. Africa is different. Solve African problems. Target Africans. This is our home turf, and its different from the USA.

AfricaCom is the leading annual event for the digital sector in Africa to meet, share best practices, learn about new technologies and services, and do business. One of the keynote sessions will focus on service innovation, including a panel discussion on how social networking services are affecting the telecoms, media and ICT market. Alan Knott-Craig will share the panel with representatives of Facebook, Google +, Viadeo and Motribe.